Work-life balance is something that many of us struggle with, and that some of us never really get the hang of. We struggle to leave the office or even put our phones down.
The result is that our life outside of work suffers. Good work-life balance has a helluva lot to do with having a good command of your time.
I’ve spent 30 years involved in the start-up and running of small businesses; both mine and others. During that time I’ve learned a thing or two about time management.
I also understand what happens when you ignore your relationships and health. They collapse around you.
I learned the hard way!
Structured, flexible time management skills are learnt.
Time management is a major key to success and enjoying life as an entrepreneur. Keep your goal in mind and apply proper structure to your time.
You can create a schedule that will ensure you achieve the goals you set. We all have the same number of hours available to us, and yet some people learn how to use those hours so much better. Using them with intent is critical.
My day starts at 05h00, and by 07h00 I’m ready to take on the world.
It’s not so much about when you get up, but what you do in those first few hours – every morning.
Having a set routine for the start of your day allows you to build, plan, and prepare for how you want your day to unfold. Then, the only challenge is to keep moving back to the plan as distractions push you off course during the day.
Here are some handy tips to help with the management of your day:
- Make a list of ALL the tasks that you want to do for the day. Make sure each task will fit into an hour or less. If any tasks take longer than an hour to complete, break them down into smaller pieces. Or, identify how much of the task you want to complete in an hour. – (number of messages written, pages read, kilometres run, etc)
- Prioritising your list. Break the list into four sections: Urgent, Important, Urgent & Important, and Other. You have to be realistic about whether a task is truly important, or whether it’s just urgent.
- Schedule your priorities. Start with the Urgent & Important tasks, then the Important ones, and lastly, the Urgent ones.
- Allocate priorities. Give each of these a specific time window during the day, based on the duration of each task. Be sure to plan for just 80% of your hours available for the day. When you run out of available time, then the Urgent tasks are the first to go; followed by the Important ones. Available time after you’ve allocated all these? Then start slotting the Other tasks into the schedule.
- Start. Start with your first task at the exact time you have scheduled it.
- Adjust. If an unexpected intervention causes any delays, stop immediately! Decide which task you’re going to remove from your plan for that day. Once you’ve done that, carry on with the task at hand.
Learn to be flexible. Get used to adjusting your day to the real-time environment. It is a crucial part of the management process.
Just as important is appreciating that we cannot foresee everything that awaits. We’re not ever going to schedule everything we end up doing in any given day.
There will be many times when unexpected opportunities pop up; ones that you don’t want to pass by. In these instances, you can’t be so fixated with your plans that you let them slip by.
Lastly, don’t try to focus all day without interruption. You need to appreciate that knowing when to take a break and enjoy things around you must be part of your day. It may be an impromptu coffee with a friend, shopping with your spouse, or even a walk in the park.
So, if you’re concerned about the imbalances in your work-life, start developing these skills, and you’ll see great results.
And feel free to reach out to us if you need help along the way. We’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs through our Online Work/Life Balance Training Course.